The eyes are one of the most fragile parts of the body. As they are a direct gateway for bacteria, impeccable hygiene is required for contact lens wearers. Poor hygiene can increase the risk of complications, such as corneal infections. We've put together some basic tips for good eye health when you wear and handle your contact lenses.
Make a habit to wash your hands frequently
Fingers and nails touch all kinds of things during the day. Bacteria and viruses can be found everywhere: on door handles, switches and even on your skin. Avoid transferring all these microbes to your eyes with a simple gesture: wash your hands! Before handling contact lenses, the first step should always be a thorough hand washing with soap and water.
Make sure that both your hands and the lenses are clean before putting them on
If the lenses are not cleaned properly, tear film proteins can accumulate and form a veil over time. Before putting on your lenses, check that they are clean and that there is no dirt stuck to their surface. To avoid contaminating them, wash your hands before putting them on your eyes.
Avoid keeping your lenses in when you are swimming
Contact between tap water and your lenses should be avoided as it increases the chance of eye infection. Take some time to remove them before jumping in the shower or taking a bath. Remember to remove them before jumping in a pool or entering a hot tub.
Make sure your case is clean
To avoid bacteria proliferation, it is important to use the holster provided by the optometrist and change it every two months. After putting on your lenses, completely empty the solution left in the case, rinse the container with new solution, then let the case dry while you are wearing your lenses. At the end of the day, rub the lenses into the palm of your hand with your index finger, rinse them with the solution, and then soak overnight in the holster. The lens solution is especially designed for the care of your contacts and should not be replaced by any other liquid, such as saline solutions. Finally, liquid that has already been used must not be used a second time.
In case of discomfort, remove your lenses
After installation, if your vision is kind of blurry, it is possible that the lens is placed on the wrong eye. It could also be upside down, damaged or cracked, which makes the wearing uncomfortable. Deposits may also have accumulated on the surface. As soon as you feel discomfort or if you’ve noticed that vision is different, remove your lenses and clean them. If it's daytime lenses, use a new set of lenses. Make an appointment with your optometrist if discomfort persists, and avoid wearing the lenses until the appointment.
Respect the recommended duration of wearing
We know it can be tempting to extend the life of your lenses to avoid returning to see your Optometrist. However, it is strongly recommended to strictly adhere to the wearing time of your contacts. Thus, monthly replacement lenses should be discarded immediately after this period, even if you feel they are still comfortable. Similarly, 1-day contacts should be discarded after one day of use, and should never be worn again. If you prolong the wear time of the lenses, it can cause an accumulation of deposits, which will let less oxygen to the cornea, increasing the risk of infection. Scheduling a reminder in your phone calendar can help you remember to change lenses or order new ones. You can also write the date of opening a new pair of lenses, and write "order" on your last box to remind you to make a phone call to your Optometrist.
Remove your lenses before going to sleep
Removing your lenses before sleeping not only gives your eyes a break, but also avoids unnecessarily increasing the risk of infection. Make a habit to remove them at least 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime or as directed by your optometrist. In the morning, it is better to wait approximately 30 minutes after getting up before putting on your lenses.
In case of blurred vision, pain, redness or irritation, consult your Optometrist
If you feel discomfort, blurry vision, red eyes, or unusual tears, remove your contact lenses. Keeping them in if they hurt you would only make the situation worse. Also make sur to call your Optometrist to make an appointment to find out if you have an eye infection.
Do you have other questions about contact lenses? Do not hesitate to consult your Optometrist or your Optican! They will be happy to answer your questions!